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  • Hartley

THE 7 TYPES OF REST: WHICH DO YOU NEED?

Updated: May 5


text reads "the 7 types of rest: how to know what you need and ideas for each" with an image of a woman's feet in white socks on a bed
via pinterest

Getting enough sleep but still tired? I’m gonna ✨make it make sense✨ with this blog.


Shut eye isn’t a magic cure-all: we need to restore our mind, body and spirit differently.


In fact, there are SEVEN kinds of rest, according to Dr. Suandra Dalton-Smith...so how do you know which one you need? 


I’m going to give you some signs that point to where you might be depleted and examples of activities that can bring you back into balance.


Being alive is stressful business. Let’s face it: there’s always going to be something tricky to manage. And when we neglect caring for ourselves for too long, we start flirting with burnout (and he’s a jerk, I know first hand). 


But when we proactively find ways to nourish ourselves, we can cope better with pressure coming our way.


If you're going through a tough chapter, why not choose an activity for each type of rest every day and see if you feel more aligned?


1. Mental

Signs you need it: forgetting things because there’s too much going on, losing focus easily, feeling detached, overwhelmed by your to-do list and scrambled Activities: time in nature, a walk to watch the sun set, mindfulness exercise such as meditation or deep breathing, intentionally slowing down parts of your routine like your morning matcha ritual, taking a break from the news, rewatching a comfort show


a blonde woman lying on a white couch
depleated + defeated (via pinterest)

2. Social Signs you need it: finding small talk even more painful than usual, spending too much time with people who drain you or stress you out, feeling isolated Activities: replying to messages only when you have the capacity, spending time with people who make you feel restored and seen, avoiding “energy vampires” and chit chat


3. Physical

Signs you need it: feels like you’ve been on your feet non-stop, workouts feel tougher than usual, tired,  achey, muscle cramps Activities: going for a walk, gentle stretching, going to bed early, getting a massage or doing self-massage like gua sha 4. Emotional Signs you need it: dysregulated, feeling on the brink of tears often, trouble sleeping, getting upset by small things, irritable, dealing with a big change, holding a lot of other people’s feelings/needs Activities: seeing a therapist, journaling about your emotions and doing prompts to validate how you’re feeling, seeking comfort from people who offer emotional safety


5. Sensory Signs you need it: sensitive to bright lights or loud sounds like traffic, spending too much time on your phone/computer, tired of talking and hearing people talk Activities: dimming the lights, getting off of screens and putting everything on airplane mode, taking a bath, listening to calm music or a sound bath, getting fresh air without listening to anything but the birds

6. Spiritual Signs you need it: feeling unanchored and numb, a desire to connect to something bigger than yourself, needing a sense of hope Activities: doing a guided meditation, praying, time in nature, volunteering, connecting with a spiritual community that resonates with you


a spread of painting tools
creative rest (via pinterest)

7. Creative Signs you need it: feeling uninspired, an itch to “do something” with your hands and and urge to play Activities: listening to music, colouring, cooking, drawing, painting, visiting an art gallery or a place that inspires you, attending a pottery workshop


Let’s remind ourselves that it’s not a badge of honour to grind until we’re frazzled and sleepless. I do a lot of ranting on this blog about my disdain for hustle culture.


Being able to “do it all” is a lie (and not an authentic path to self-esteem).


I believe that a better way to develop confidence is to show up for ourselves. When we demonstrate that we do NOT come last and that we will listen and respond to our own needs, we develop self-trust and feel safe. 


And yes, I know that trying to take care of yourself can sometimes feel like “one more thing to do.” If you struggle to make R+R actually happen, check out my free evening routine planner with 40 wind-down ideas. The activities checklist makes it easy.

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